A Marianna woman is being held without bond in the Calhoun County Jail accused of attempting to murder her ex-boyfriend.
Brenda “Sissy” Ellis Toole, 56, who is employed as a deputy clerk with the Jackson County Clerk of Court office, is charged with attempted first degree murder with a firearm, armed burglary with a firearm, and criminal mischief over $1000.
According to the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office, a 911 call came in at 9 p.m. last Tuesday from a man on CR 274 in Altha who advised a woman was at the end of his driveway firing a gun. While Deputy Bobby Sims and Sgt. Jared Nichols were en route, the man called back and alleged the woman was ramming his truck with her vehicle. A few minutes later, he said she had entered his home and was shooting at him. The man stated he had barricaded himself in his bedroom. The dispatcher kept the man on the line, hearing gunshots and a female voice screaming in the background.
Dep. Sims and Sgt. Nichols parked down the driveway, carefully approaching the home on foot. They reported hearing glass breaking and what sounded like items being thrown as they came closer to the residence. Sgt. Nichols told dispatch to have the man exit from his bedroom window as they stood guard outside. However, the man soon walked out the back door of the home and went to an area behind the deputies. The woman, later identified as Toole, soon exited from the same door carrying a wine cooler in one hand. Dep. Sims and Sgt. Nichols approached and took Toole into custody without incident.
Toole showed the deputies a superficial wound on the inside of her leg and alleged it was from a gunshot. Sgt. Nichols reported the wound did not appear to be caused by a gunshot, however, he had Dep. Sims transport Toole to the emergency room at Calhoun-Liberty Hospital for medical clearance.
The investigation continued with Toole’s vehicle located a few feet from the man’s back porch. Extensive damage was found on the left side of her vehicle. The back door and kitchen window of the residence were broken and the house was completely ransacked.
Sgt. Nichols noted kitchen drawers had been pulled out, dishes had been broken, and the refrigerator was emptied with food items thrown all over the house. Condiments and liquids were discovered inside the kitchen and living area. A ceramic stove and flatscreen television were both shattered, pictures and decorative items destroyed.
Sgt. Nichols located a Walther P38 9mm handgun with a stovepipe or jammed casing on a countertop beside the stove.
The man gave a sworn statement advising he and Toole entered into a relationship in April that progressed into her moving in with him. He said she moved out June 4 and returned to her home at Compass Lake. The man said he thought everything was fine, but noted Toole was dealing with a lot following the recent suicide of her husband. He alleged earlier in the afternoon Toole called and accused him of making derogatory comments about her to several people. The man tried to convince her he had not made any such comments, but she refused to believe him. She allegedly said she would kill him and cautioned him to “watch his back.”
The man said he didn’t think much about what Toole said until a vehicle pulled up to his gate and he began hearing gunshots. He suspected it was Toole and watched as she drove through his closed gate, traveled down his driveway an estimated 150 yards, then began ramming her vehicle into his Ford F350.
Toole then allegedly drove around to the backyard and approached the back door. The man said he watched as she tried to bust the back door glass with a handgun. He then retreated to his bedroom. Sgt. Nichols noted Toole appeared to have shot the door, then used the gun to break out the glass panes until she could reach in and unlock the door. The man said he shouted to Toole not to come inside and repeatedly urged her to calm down. He alleged Toole began firing at him through the bedroom wall and door while shouting obscenities and threatening to kill him.
Investigators located four bullet holes in the wall just to the left of the bedroom wall and one in the bedroom door. One of the bullets reportedly traveled through the bedroom and out the front bedroom window. One of the bullets or fragments struck the man in his lower left abdomen, but it did not penetrate, leaving a superficial wound.
The man told Sgt. Nichols he armed himself with a .22 lever action long rifle located in his bedroom. He alleged Toole kicked open the bedroom door, but never entered. He retreated into the master bathroom and waited for law enforcement officers to arrive.
Lt. Mark Mallory arrived to assist in processing the scene. Tire impressions indicated Toole struck the man’s truck, backed up and hit it again, pushing the truck over four feet from where it was parked. An empty nylon holster was found in the front passenger floorboard of Toole’s vehicle with a box of 9mm rounds. A spent casing was found in the floorboard, along with evidence that a shot had been fired from inside the vehicle, exiting through the driver door. An empty wine cooler bottle was also found.
The man submitted to a gunshot residue test and assured investigators he had not fired a weapon. Toole, who was medically cleared, refused to submit to a gunshot residue test, but a warrant was obtained requiring her to do so. The test was conducted without incident.